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Dear Colleague Letter: Seeking Community Input for Topic Ideas for Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI)


Friday, December 19, 2014


EFRI was established in FY 2007 to serve a critical role in focusing the engineering community on important emerging areas in a timely manner. Each year, EFRI evaluates, recommends, and funds interdisciplinary initiatives at the emerging frontiers of engineering research and innovation. These transformative opportunities may lead to: new research directions; new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country; and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge.

EFRI invests in high-risk multidisciplinary opportunities with high-potential payoff. Its role is to support research opportunities that would be difficult to fund through the current funding mechanisms of EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), typical core programs, or large research center awards. These frontier ideas cannot be pursued by one researcher or within one field of expertise. They are "frontier" because they not only push the limits of knowledge of one field, but actually overlap multiple fields. The EFRI funding process is designed to both inspire and enable a group of researchers with diverse technical expertise to work together on one frontier idea.

The EFRI Program is perpetually gathering information for use in deciding future research topic areas to support. This process operates continually, ensuring input and feedback from the engineering community on promising upcoming research opportunities. This input comes from diverse sources such as workshops, advisory committees, proposals and awards, technical meetings, and professional societies as well as from individual engineering researchers. From this comprehensive input, the EFRI team identifies, evaluates, and prioritizes those frontier topics that best match the EFRI criteria.

In order to provide a wider and more direct opportunity for the research community to provide input on selection of topic ideas for FY 2016, the NSF EFRI team is inviting the community to submit emerging frontier Topic Idea suggestions for consideration by NSF.

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